Hmmm… where do I start? Whhheeeeerrrreeee do I start?
Shall we start with the house?
You want the good news or the good news?
(there is no good news)
Let’s start with the good news:
“The cost to extend the main line and run gas service to your home will be $8,853.”
Oh? Is that all? And it’s only $6000 over what we originally thought that it was going to be? Bwahahahahahahahahahaha!
Any more good news?
This is from the wonderful contractor who I met yesterday. He is highly recommended from my very good and trusted friend. Hometown guy: He’s from DC. This is what he said in a follow-up email this morning after seeing the house yesterday:
“The wiring with new service and panel and major house rewiring is in the $10 to $15K range. Plus wall and ceiling repairs and painting.
A bath total remodel average is $12 to $15K. The second floor bath needs some major plumbing drain pipe work once we touch it and some water pipe work. You could do a minor remodel of the bath and cover the plumbing repairs including replacing the ceiling below.
A kitchen remodel starts at $20K and can go up considerably. The house needs kitchen plumbing work to vent and bring up to code.”
I went to public school, so my basic arithmetic is pretty crappy… let’s break out the calculator.
15 + 15+ 20 = 50
Plus 9 (you know, for the gas) = 59
and that doesn’t include the new boiler and furnace or whatever? Let’s throw in another 5 grand just to be cute.
Grand total?? Hold on, I have to count on my fingers…
64 thousand dollars.
My budget is 40 thousand dollars.
When you read this line, read it with the voice of The Count from Sesame Street: I need 24, 24 thousand dollars! ah ah ah aah!!
So, The Husband and I are like, fine, we’ll buckle down, we’ll really prioritize what must be done and what could be done, we’ll do what we can, we’ll build equity, and some day we’ll take out a home equity loan to do more stuff. In the mean time, we still need contractors to do these bids and submit this paperwork because our guy at the bank is really pushing us to submit our stuff in a timely manner.
This contractor (who I really do like and would prefer to work with) wants to bring in his electrician late next week to look things over. My husband and I are like, cool, but we really want to get paperwork in quickly. What can we do to push you to do what we need?
Now, he sent a perfectly reasonable answer, one that is totally acceptable. But he wrote something interesting that set alarm bells off in my mental mind:
“At this point we do not have any designs or plans to base a serious estimate on…
There are so many details to work out especially in a kitchen that a serious and detailed proposal is many weeks away.”
Did you see what I saw?
“a serious and detailed proposal is many weeks away.”
Here I’ve had dreams of moving into my new home November 1 and celebrating Thanksgiving in my new home. Now, I’m really wondering. And i’m worrying. What if I can’t move into that house in November? What if the work isn’t done? What if it hasn’t even started? What if I’m paying rent in November and paying a mortgage? December?
I’m having heart palpitations… Let’s talk about something else.
A few weeks ago, someone told us about a cool local place called Drumlin Farm. The woman who recommended it said that for one year, she took her son every single week to see the changes in the seasons. I thought that was a super cool idea, and since membership is pretty (relatively) cheap ($32 for a family of four), I bought it and we visited.
What a simply beautiful and magical place.
First off, MetroWest Boston is just beautiful. The winding country roads remind me of my time in North Carolina, and they also remind me of some of my favorite parts of Maryland. And with the leaves starting to change here, augh, it’s just gorgeous. So you have to drive through the beautiful town of Lincoln to get there, and when you get there, it’s this lovely set up and beautiful working farm. There was even a fresh produce stand on the premises, where I bought the most beautiful head of lettuce I could ever behold.
And there are sheep there and beautiful birds, and chickens, and all sorts of other stuff. There was even a tractor-pulled hay ride that I couldn’t quite find the start for. The boys loved just looking at the old tractor, though. We’ll have to figure out how to get on it next time. Ursa Major absolutely loved looking at the chickens. I’d forgotten just how beautiful those birds can be. Pretty little things, really. And they are harvesting most of the stuff that they’ve planted there, so there was a greenhouse filled to the brim with harvested squash of all different kids. Heaven. Makes me want to have a farm. Maybe that’s what I should do–move to Vermont or something and start a farm… disappear from the world…. just me and my sustenance hermit farm….
We didn’t see it all because the boys were walking and they got tired, but what we did see, we loved. Loved. I can’t wait to go back. Moreover, there were a lot of other moms with toddlers there who were enjoying themselves. There was a lot of room to roam, it never felt over-crowded. It was just one of the more pleasant places I’ve been to around here. Just another very good reason to love where i live.
and I do really love that place.
Ok, ok, that feels a little better…
Then there is preschool. Preschool is wonderful. Again, magical. And the best part about it is that Ursa Major’s teachers see what we see: He is an interesting thinker, he’s an observer, he has a lot of leadership potential… he’s just a great little guy. That makes me feel so much better. Moreover, when I pick him up, he doesn’t want to leave. That means that they are really taking care of him over there. I’m so pleased, really I am. Next week, I’m the teacher helper. It will be me and Ursa Major all morning! Ursa Minor stays home with The Husband for a few hours. I’m so excited!
But seriously, when it comes to this house, I’m really looking for a miracle. Anyone have a patron saint who I can send some prayers to? I love Pope Francis so much that I’ll step away from my protestant pride and perform some Catholic rituals. I. Need. A. Miracle.
What am I going to do? Seriously! What am I going to do??
There are two little toddlers upstairs who aren’t sleeping. I have to get them and deal with their craziness. The Husband is going out tomorrow to see two other contractors. Maybe one of them will have something better to tell us. While we were at the farm, my realtor called with another contact to get in touch with. He says we should tear out our steam system and move over to forced air. He could do it, he says, for a mere $12,000. Hahahahaaa.
And supposedly, the guy knows somebody who knows somebody who knows a sister’s boyfriend’s cousin over at the gas company who can get us a discount on that line extension. Maybe. hahahahahaaa.
I don’t mind a little bit of chaos, but this is a really absurd. Absurd!
There are no quiet thoughts today. I woke up yesterday with some, all excited about writing about my first week of being a full suburban mama. So many lovely beautiful sentences dancing in my head. They are gone now. All of that is gone. Only disarray, weeping and gnashing of teeth remain. I’m starting to doubt if this is all going to work out. I think that today is the first day when the reasonable fear that any first-time homebuyer should have has begun to transform into a gripping and unnrelenting terror: What if I’m making the biggest financial mistake that I can possibly make right now?
I usually have wishes for you on Fridays. I suppose I wish you calm. And no home buying. I wish you mornings free of gripping terror. And no sleepless nights. I have no idea where I’m going to find calm this weekend. I can only pray that we get contractors in tomorrow who have a different possible strategy. Though I really like the guy that we’re working with, I trust him, and I think his assessment is sound. So… So basically, I’ve got nothing calm to send the week on. I hope I have good news on Monday. Somebody give me something positive to think about!